Composition & Lighting


I love cinematography. If you ask any seasoned cinematographer, what is the most important thing you need to know about cinematography, they will likely tell you that two of the most basic and important aspects of cinematography is composition and lighting. Each of these elements can enforce the content or emotion within a scene or shot individually, but when they are used in concert, they can dictate what you see and feel on the screen.

These are two of the most valuable things that I have learned as a cinematographer. It was heavily emphasized in my degree program as well as in the field. It can be interpreted from a subjective or objective viewpoint. It can put us at ease or make us feel uneasy. But most importantly, it is as much a part of the story as the written word, the performances or the soundtrack/score, and should be treated a such, and given its due attention. A lot of beginning filmmakers (and some seasoned) think you can just point a camera and start filming. They think that the story alone will sell the film to their audience (and in some cases this is true), however the differences between a good film and a great film is when all the elements are given their due process.

Composition: Is how the elements within a scene or shot are placed and how they are positioned within the camera’s frame.

Lighting: Is how the scene or shot is shaped using light. It also affects textures and where the viewer’s eye is led.

Together, these factors can induce emotion and foreshadow coming events. These elements should never be overlooked or taken for granted. Cinematography is as much a science as it is an art form and it should be respected as much as it is appreciated.

Photograph: Screen Lights

By: Q. Ajimine

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